Rajesh Khanna shared a very special bond with R D Burman. Apart from working together in several films, the star considered the composer to be one of his closest buddies. US-based Dr Mukesh Hariawala who had done a heart bypass surgery on RD at Princess Grace Hospital in London in 1989 reminisces about the special bond between the superstar and composer….
“I firmly believe Rajesh Khanna and R D Burman were destined to be soulmates. I can imagine the trio - R D Burman, Rajesh Khanna and Kishore Kumar - making superhits in heaven. Rajesh Khanna visited RD after the operation along with director Shakti Samanta. On entering the room, Rajesh told RD, ‘I was looking for you in the recording studio, but they told me you are in a London hospital. Toh pehli flight lee aur seedha yaha chala aiya... I am disappointed. Bataya bhi nahi.’
To which Burman replied, ‘These days I have no work in Mumbai, so decided to come to London and get my heart problem fixed,’ after which they laughed and embraced each other. RD boasted to Rajesh Khanna that during surgery I had observed that RD’s heart was larger than most people, Rajesh responded by saying, ‘Is mein koi shak nahin.
Rajesh Khanna and R D Burman and Dr Mukesh Hariawala
Bade dilwala hain aur hamesha rahega.’ Later Rajesh sought permission to take RD to the local pub near the hospital for a beer: I flatly refused permission. Rajesh was disappointed but later apologised for breaking hospital rules. He also asked me if science and technology had come up with procedures that can fix an emotionally broken heart. I candidly replied, ‘If we did, people will stop watching your romantic movies!’”